Spring is finally here, and we're so excited to hit the farmers' market to pick up some seasonal goodies to eat. My spring go-tos are roasted asparagus, lots and lots of spring lettuce salads (maybe with some edible flowers tossed in) and tons of radishes (with butter and sea salt, of course). But if you're looking for some out-of-the box pairings for the best spring has to offer, look no further!
Asparagus is the superstar of spring, and rightfully so: its versatility in the kitchen is pretty unparalleled amongst all of its spring-y brethren. Shaved raw into a salad, roasted, steamed or pureed into soup - this veggie can do it all. When you've grown tired of serving the spears on their own, mix up your asparagus game by pairing them with other spring foods.
Asparagus + Eggs
Asparagus and eggs are a classic French combination - whether you make a silky hollandaise to blanket steamed spears, or make this salad with asparagus and boiled eggs, you'll see why this combo is so special.
Asparagus + Tarragon
Tarragon is one of the first herbs to appear in my garden in the spring, and its subtle anise flavor pairs beautifully with asparagus. Make this tarragon compound butter to melt over grilled asparagus, or this recipe for asparagus with tarragon sherry vinaigrette (and hard cooked eggs!).
Asparagus + Lettuce
My favorite thing to grow in my garden is lettuce - I love the different colors, textures and flavors that heirloom varieties bring to my salad bowls. In the spring, when I am inundated with lots of beautiful fresh lettuce, I like to pile a platter with lettuce leaves, shave a few spears of raw asparagus over (using a Japanese mandolin) and top with shaved parmesan. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice over top and you've got the easiest spring salad ever.
Asparagus + Spinach
Spinach loves the cool weather of spring, so get your hands on some of the first bunches of the year and make this delightful combination of Sautéed Spinach with Asparagus and Sesame, which would be great paired with grilled chicken or tofu.
Asparagus + Sugar Snaps
I can't get enough sugar snap peas in the spring; their snappy sweetness is always welcome in a salad or as a side dish. I like to sautée asparagus and sugar snaps together for an easy side, or even easier, make this delicious salad with shaved asparagus and sugar snaps (add burrata, if you can find it!).
I have a weird obsession with radishes, because seeing their colorful little shoulders poking up through the soil in my garden makes me feel like spring has finally arrived. Plus, their bite and crunchiness adds zip to anything they're paired with, from baguettes and butter to simple salads and lots more.
Radishes + Sugar Snaps
Smitten Kitchen never does us wrong, so check out Deb's Sautéed Radishes and Sugar Snaps with Dill!
Radishes + Dandelion Greens
Radishes + Cilantro
Radishes and cilantro are the perfect combination (something Mexican chefs have known for, oh, millennia), but combining radishes and cilantro with goat cheese, too? Genius. Especially with my absolute favorite radish variety, French Breakfast.
Radishes + Ramps
Radishes + Chives
An easy spring appetizer is thinly sliced radishes on top of buttered baguette, topped with a generous pinch of sea salt. Take this concept a bit further and make chive and chive blossom compound butter instead (I'd probably mix in a few drops of lemon juice, too).
Morels are funny looking mushrooms that have their peak in the spring. Their deliciously nutty flavor and springy texture pair well with lots of bold, springtime flavors.
Morels + Chives
I'm just going to leave this here: morel mushroom tartine with chives. (A tartine is a French style open-faced sandwich, by the way)
Morels + Sorrel
Sorrel is a sometimes hard-to-find green that has a lively, lemony flavor that pairs beautifully with mushrooms like morels. Chopped sorrel leaves would be a fine substitution for the chives in the tartine above, or if you're feeling more ambitious, try this recipe for giant ravioli stuffed with sorrel and a poached egg, topped with morels and more sorrel.
Morels + Arugula
While you may be most familiar with arugula in salads, I love to use arugula in place of spinach in warm dishes. It wilts nicely, but retains some of its peppery bite. An easy spring dish: fettuccine with wilted arugula, sautéed morels and parmesan. Cook fettuccine to just al dente, add a handful of arugula leaves, salt and pepper and a small dollop of butter. Toss until the arugula wilts. Top with morels chopped and sautéed in more butter. Serve with lots of grated parmesan.
Morels + Goat Cheese
Morels + Nettles
This sounds amazing: croissants stuffed with morels, nettles and ramps (!!!).
Oh, favas. Every year I swear them off, because prepping the larger beans is so much work (you have to shell them from their pods, and then remove the tough outer layer of the bean itself. Not difficult, but certainly time consuming!). But I just can't quit them: I love how green they are and how delicious they taste with herbs and other spring vegetables!
Favas + Goat Cheese
A common pairing for favas is Pecorino cheese, but goat cheese comes in an easy second; both cheeses' barnyard funk play well with the bean-y nuttiness of favas. Elise over at Simply Recipes has a great recipe for a fava bean dip with goat cheese that I think would be amazing with lots of spring veggies, including radishes, poached asparagus and sugar snaps.
Favas + Peas
Favas + Garlic Scapes
Here's a recipe for homemade gnocchi with garlic scapes and basil from Not Eating Out in New York, which sounds amazing (you probably won't be able to find good basil this time of year, so you could sub mint or even arugula instead). Cathy also has some lovely pictures about how to prep the beans, including removing their pesky inner skins.
Favas + Fiddleheads
Bibimbap is a Korean dish usually made with rice, lots of veggies, egg and (sometimes) meat. This recipe for a spring bibimbap mixes it up with quinoa instead of the rice, and spring veggies like favas and fiddleheads.
Favas + Mint
Favas and mint might be one of my most favorite spring combos; I think the brightness of mint adds a depth of flavor to the beans much like a squeeze of lemon juice does in other dishes. Here's a dish that incorporates some of my favorite ingredients: parmesan, shallots, favas and mint.